The November election is fast approaching and one of the issues voters will be faced with is whether to continue to fund stem cell research.
Publicly funded stem cell research was a national hot button issue in 2004. California voters were at the vanguard by approving it. Now, the program voters okayed is running out of money.
On Nov. 3, voters will be asked to approve Proposition 14, authorizing $5.5 billion dollars in new bond money for stem cell and other medical research.
Sixteen years ago, Proposition 71 made it a state constitutional right to conduct stem cell research and voters approved $3 billion in borrowing to fund it. The measure created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
The new initiative includes more oversight for the institute and it requires better patient access to treatment.
Some of the new funding would be earmarked for research and therapies for brain and nervous system diseases such as Alzheimers, Parkinson's and dementia.
It would look for treatments and cures for cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
But, all this comes at a cost. Opponents of the measure say the debt on borrowing the $5.5 billion will cost nearly $8 billion and they say we can't afford it.
A yes vote for Proposition 14 would authorize the state to sell the general obligation bonds. A no vote would stop the sale.